Shooting Better Nighttime Photos: Indoors and Outdoors
- Key #1Ditch Auto Mode
- Key #2Do You See a Scene That Works?
- Key #3Put Yourself in Charge with Advanced Shooting Modes
- Key #4Natural Color with Whatever Lights Available
- Key #5Crank Up the ISO (But Not Too Far)
- Key #6Overriding the Cameras Suggested Exposure Settings
- Key #7Use All the Light You Can
- Key #8Bounce Your Flash
- Key #9RAW Mode to the Rescue
- Key #10Avoiding Blurry and Fuzzy Photos
Digital photography doesn’t need to be a dawn-to-dusk hobby. Thanks to improved image sensors, higher usable ISO settings, and lenses that allow more light to reach those sensors, you can shoot great photos indoors and at night – if you know the keys to better dim-light photography and when to use them.
Key #1Ditch Auto Mode
In Auto mode (marked in green on the control dial of most digital cameras), you decide what to shoot and when, but the camera decides all of the other settings for you. Unless you’re shooting under bright-as-day conditions indoors, your camera will turn on the flash in Auto mode because Auto mode isn’t designed to cope with dim light in any other way. For some subjects, like Figure 1, flash is A-OK.
Figure 1 Auto mode’s automatic flash works well for closeups of people.
However, if you’re shooting a more distant subject with some obstacles in front of you, your flash will light up the obstacles, not the subject (Figure 2).
Figure 2 Whatever’s in front of the flash gets overexposed if you’re trying to shoot through the obstructions.
The solution? Switch your camera out of Auto mode into a mode that gives you more control and enables you to shoot without flash when it makes sense.